Messaging platform Telegram claims to have had a surge in signups during a period of downtime for Facebook’s rival messaging services.
In a message sent to his Telegram channel, founder Pavel Durov’s just wrote: “I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours.”
It’s probably not a coincidence that Facebook and its related family of apps went down for most of Wednesday, as we reported earlier. At the time of writing Instagram’s service has been officially confirmed restored. Unofficially Facebook also appears to be back online, at least here in Europe.
Durov doesn’t offer an explicit explanation for Telegram’s sudden spike in sign ups, but he does take a thinly veiled swipe at social networking giant Facebook — whose founder recently claimed he now plans to pivot the ad platform to ‘privacy’.
“Good,” adds Durov on his channel, welcoming Telegram’s 3M newbies. “We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone.”
A contact at Telegram confirmed to TechCrunch that the Facebook apps’ downtime is the likely cause of its latest sign up spike, telling us: “These outages always drive new users.”
Though they also credited growth to “the mainstream overall increasing understanding about Facebook’s abusive attention harvesting practices”.
A year ago Telegram announced passing 200M monthly active users. Though the platform has faced restrictions and/or blocks in some markets (principally Russia and Iran, as well as China) — apparently for refusing government requests for encryption keys and/or user information.
In Durov’s home country of Russia the government is also now moving to tighten Internet restrictions via new legislation — and thousands of people took to the streets in Moscow and other Russian cities this weekend to protest at growing Internet censorship, per Reuters.
Such restrictions could increase demand for Telegram’s encrypted messaging service in the country as the app does appear to still be partially accessible there.
Durov, who famously left Russia in 2014 — stepping away from his home country and an earlier social network he founded (VK.com) because of his stance on free speech — has sought to thwart the Russian government’s Telegram blocks via legal and technical measures.
The Telegram messaging platform has of course also had its own issues with less political downtime too.
In a tweet last fall the company confirmed a server cluster had gone down, potentially affecting users in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Although in that case the downtime only lasted a few hours.